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Why China is Called China


China is the appellation of our country given by foreigners.

The porcelain china is the transliteration of the place name Changnan, which was the old name for the porcelain town of today's Jingdezhen (Jingde Town). In the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), people built their cave-houses and cut logs to make pottery. And in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), people combined the advantages of celadon from the southern Yue kiln and white porcelains from the northern Xing kiln, and with the high-quality earth of the Gaoling Mountain in Changnan Town they produced a kind of white & green porcelain. This porcelain was smooth and bright, and hence earned another name of artificial jade. It became famous both home and abroad and exported to Europe in large quantities since people there did not know how to make porcelain before the 18thcentury.

In Europe, people regarded Changnan porcelain as something precious and delicate and would take proud in possessing one. As time passed, people in Europe forgot the meaning of Changnan and switched the original meaning of porcelain of the word 'china' to the place of its origin ― China. Therefore, Changnan in people's eyes represented porcelain and China. In the Jingde reign of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Emperor Zhenzong loved Changnan porcelain so much that he ordered to build official cave-houses to make porcelain of all kinds. And porcelains paid as tributes to the emperor were required to print with made in the Jinde reign at the bottom. From then on, Changnan Town became Jingde Town and it remained as such until today.

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